Regular readers know that I’m mildly obsessed about leaving my garage door open overnight; that concern lead me to devise a garage door open indicator last year. That approach works great – if we leave the garage door open, a small red LED mounted to the ceiling light in our master bedroom is illuminated.

That’s perfect if it’s in the evening, but what happens if you accidentally leave the door open as you leave home for work – or to go shopping – or anytime, for that matter? Which among us hasn’t driven away from home, and fifteen (pick a number) minutes later thought, “Did I close the garage door??” Enter the Garage Butler.

Timing is everything: I discovered the Garage Butler shortly after installing my LED ‘garage door open’ indicator. This is the ultimate idiot-proof fail-safe: try as you may, you can’t leave your garage door open by mistake with the Garage Butler installed.

The wall mounted controller (above) is the heart of the system. You use the green button to open and close the door (in addition, your old button remains operable). When you leave the door open, it will automatically close after a pre-determined number of minutes (from 3 to 60 with the model shown here). If you want to leave the door open so you can do some yard work, wash the car, and so forth, just push the red “Hold” button after opening the door; the door stays open, and when done, you simply hit the green button to close the door. If you use “Hold” to keep the door open and forget about it (say, you enter the house via another door), the controller is equipped with a photoelectric cell, and the door will close when it gets dark out.

Above, the old button will still work; in our experience, we just use the Garage Butler button.  Key to the system is a magnetic switch that you mount on the garage door itself and the door track. These components come with double sided adhesive foam tape for easy installation; due to OCD, I installed everything with hardware:

Below, a shot of the bracket which mounts to the garage door track; the brackets can be bent in order to achieve the proper gap between the magnets:

The system is powered by a wall wart. Installation takes just a few minutes, and common tools are all that’s required. The aspect of the installation which takes any significant amount of time is routing the wiring. I bought some insulated wire staples and took some care in achieving an install that looks reasonably neat; YMMV. In a word, installation is simple.

The system can be installed on most types of garage doors. I should also mention that the system is fully compatible with garage door safety systems, which remain active. When the door is going to close automatically, a loud alarm beeps for 30 seconds prior to the door actually closing, to warn anyone nearby. As I said above, it’s idiot proof.

There are two versions of the Garage Butler available: the one shown above, which sells for $59.95, and a stripped down model (only 2 timer settings) for $44.95; in both cases, shipping is included.

You can see both at the Garage Butler website:  Garage Butler – the automatic garage door closer

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2 Comments on Never accidentally leave your garage door open again!

  1. Adriano says:

    Must be a great device…. If I only had an automatic garage door system… Mine is old style (i.e. works manually) so, unfortunately, if I leave it open, it will stay open, no matter what.
    My problem instead is linked to animals, especially cats, who don’t disdain being in a relatively warm place whenever it’s cold outside and therefore have a particular liking for my garage… Any solutions for that (other than keeping the door closed, that is)?

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  2. ScottC says:

    Another door closer to look at.

    http://www.autocloser.com/

    I’ve been using this garage door closer for about 3 years
    About the same price and does not have the sensor on the track to install. The only time my garage door gets left open now is if I punch the manual button to leave it open.

    [Reply]

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